One Pan Fall Casserole

I rarely share recipes on my blog, because, quite frankly, I hate to cook.  Like seriously hate to cook.  I have a couple friends that I joke around with sometimes about having our own little commune.   I would teach everybody’s children, one mom would do all the cooking, and the other would do all the cleaning, hah.  Seriously, that sounds more amazing to me than anything.

HOWEVER

Cooking is a necessity when you’re a wife/mom and sometimes you hit the jackpot.   Now, one friend who tasted this recipe ended up adding some of her own dressing to it to spice it up – but I liked it totally as is.   I had seen a similar recipe on Pinterest but since I rarely follow a recipe to a T (read: never have the same ingredients so I substitute what I think will work) this really became my own recipe.  I drive people crazy when I tell them “I found this amazing recipe but I didn’t have this so I used this, and I didn’t have this, so I used this,…” You get the idea.  And I rarely have all the ingredients for something because I’m a terrible cook and never buy things that cooks/chefs would have normally have on hand.

I love the idea of one pan for making a meal (although, I have to admit, I boiled my chicken first, so that would make two pans/pots) as I also hate doing dishes, hah.  I found aluminum throw-away pans at Costco for super cheap (cheaper than the dollar store) and they’re great for making meals in, especially if you double the recipe and put half in the freezer.    And this can be a super cheap recipe if you use vegetables that are on sale (or on the clearance rack at your grocery store).

I made one for our meal and one for the freezer the night I made this.  And it made enough for about 6 servings (for those with somewhat large families).   My kids eat very little at supper but my husband took a good portion for his lunch and I shared another container with a friend and her husband for lunch…so it stretched pretty far.

One Pan Fall Casserole

Ingredients:

4-6 Chicken breasts (thawed; or boiled if frozen)

1-2 large sweet potatoes OR 4-6 medium white potatoes – the more potatoes you add the larger the cassarole will be

2 small peppers (or 1 large)

2 carrots, chopped in circles

1 onion

1/2 squash (I actually used 1/4 of a squash in each pan I made as I only had half a squash in my fridge – it was plenty)

3 small apples (or as much as you want for added sweetness)

!/2 cup of cranberries (option for added sweetness)

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup oil

Apple cider vinegar

Uncooked bacon

 

Directions:

  1. Boil chicken in water with 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar (gives the chicken a nice flavour) for about 10 minutes.   Combine 2 TBSP of oil with a splash or two of apple cider vinegar, the Italian seasoning, and garlic.  Place chicken in a plastic bag and pour oil mixture over chicken, rubbing it in.   Let sit while you do the rest.
  2. Chop veggies and place in a pan.   I have written in the vegetables that I used because those are what I had in my fridge, but you could sub in any veggies that are in season in your area (ie, green beans, peas, corn, brussel sprouts, etc).    Add the apples, diced, with skin on (or you can choose to peel but it’s a little more work and who needs that?)
  3. Pour remaining oil over vegetables and stir to coat (this is so the veggies don’t stick and burn while they are roasting).
  4. Place chicken breasts on top of vegetables (alternatively, you could cut the chicken into cubes and mix right into the casserole if you only have so much chicken to work with – this can make it stretch farther).
  5. Sprinkle with uncooked, chopped bacon
  6. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes (or until vegetables/potatoes are soft when poked with a fork).

 

If you didn’t want to make a huge pan of this, I could also see it over rice – also making it stretch farther.  Or if you made a big pan, you could serve up to 10 people with this casserole by putting rice under it.   I’m all about stretching a meal.   My rule of thumb is to keep my meat servings to about $5 per meal, which I know doesn’t sound like much.  Sometimes it’s more but not very often.  When I make a roast (costs about $10-$13 at the local meat store we buy from) we always have some for lunches the next day.  I serve a family of 4 (two of whom are children who don’t eat much).   When the kids are older and eating more I will, obviously, have to adjust this number accordingly.

I did make this in two pans and put one in my freezer.  I kept the chicken off and will do that part of it when I pull the pan out of the freezer.  I’m a freak about meat and food poisoning so I didn’t like the idea of half cooking the chicken and then re-freezing (which is a huge no-no in my house).   I suppose you could cook this in its entirety and then freeze but, since I made this on a church night, I didn’t have time to cook the second one before we had to leave.

The only thing I regret is not taking a picture.  So I’ll update this post next time I make it and post a picture of the meal.  Or you can do a search for similar meals on google and see what they “look” like.

My husband loved this meal and even my kids gave it a thumbs up (which is huge in my house).   If you try it, let me know what you think, or if you would tweak anything. =)

 

Yummy Goodness…Stuffed Peppers!

I have been working on turning my house into a healthy-eating zone for the last few months.  It has been interesting to see the changes.

One food I thought I would NEVER try, was quinoa.  In fact, when I pinned this recipe I figured I could sub out the quinoa with something else.  To me, quinoa (Keen-wah) looks something like a cross between rice and oatmeal…two foods I don’t appreciate, at all.

But, when I was at the Bulk Barn getting food I walked past the bin of quinoa and before I could talk myself out of it scooped up about a cup of the grains.  I figured if I didn’t like it it was only a cup and wouldn’t break the bank or anything, lol.

Surprisingly, I liked it, to an extent (it’s better than rice or oatmeal).  Even more surprising is that my husband liked it as well!  But then he likes rice…and oatmeal…so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

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The recipe can be found at BestHealthmag.com

There were a few things I changed…here are the ingredients as listed on the website:

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, cooked
1 cup (250 mL) canned lentils, drained and rinsed   –
I forgot these! Confused smile
1/2 cup (125 mL) broccoli, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro, finely sliced  –
I didn’t have this so I didn’t add it..
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) ground turmeric
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice –
I used lemon instead as I didn’t have lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp (30 mL) flaxseed oil
I may have used coconut oil instead (can’t remember) because I don’t keep this in stock either
pinch crushed chili flakes
1 cup (250 mL) diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium bell peppers, tops removed, cleaned out

These were soooo good!   Even when re-heated the next day they were just as good.  I would probably half the recipe next time.  I think, too, I had way too much quinoa because (duh moment) I forgot that one cup of uncooked quinoa equals like 3 cups of cooked or something like…anyways, I had a lot!

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My husband thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that I’ve been taking pictures of our meals.  But, seriously, this is ROCKET SCIENCE for me, people!  I like to bake but I’m not a huge fan of cooking (if you can tell from all the recipes I’ve posted).  So cooking healthy is a HUGE deal.  I spend like 75% of my day in the kitchen (which I dislike) but the results are totally worth it.  I’ve been telling my husband for months now that when we start looking for a house a proper kitchen is at the TOP of the list…like #1 on the list.  It’s a must for this girl.

So, don’t be afraid to try quinoa!  You might just like it (you kinda cook it just like rice but I found some great tutorials online to figure it out).

Happy Weekend!

How to make Homemade Marshmallows!!!!

Yes…for real.  It is sooooo easy to make your own marshmallows.  I have made three pans in the past two weeks (yes, three), hehe.  I might just be in love with homemade marshmallows.  They seriously took about 20 minutes to make, then they set overnight, and probably about another 20 minutes cutting them up (depending on how small you decide to cut them, the smaller they are the longer it will take).    Yes, I am in love…AND, they’re flavoured!!!!  I mean, eeek!   Where can you go for flavoured marshmallows????

Sigh.

I’m in love.

With marshmallows.

So I was pinteresting one day and came upon this recipe for some gourmet marshmallows and I decided to try it out.  Now, a lot of people don’t like corn syrup.  I don’t care.  I eat it.  I’ll die happy.

Butter's Famous Marshmallow Recipe | from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin | TheCakeBlog.com

Click on the picture to go the website and the recipe.  I’m not going to post the recipe here because I think they deserve the traffic to their blog.

Now, the only problem I have with this recipe is that I have a hand mixer not a stand one.  So, yeah, 12 minutes of standing there holding the mixer, not fun.  But hey, a girl does what she’s gotta do for what she wants.  (smile)

You really do have to try this.  And I think they’d make really cool Christmas gifts for family and friends.  Something unique, right?   And there are really a lot of flavours and colours you could use.  For my get-together on Saturday (for a hot chocolate bar) I made some with vanilla, another batch with peppermint, and one is plain because I simply forgot to add the flavour until after I already had the plastic wrap on it and everything, hehe.  But the plain ones still taste amazing.  Wayyyy better than store-bought marshmallows.  Can I even tell you how much better they taste?  Seriously, you have to try it out yourself.  You KNOW you want to!

DIY Chapstick

photo: Growing Home Blog

*Disclaimer:  I am not a naturopath, or a doctor.  I do not claim to heal anything.  The opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own and have come from my own research.  You should check with a doctor or naturopath if you have any concerns about your health.

 

I have been struggling since my pregnancy with EXTREMELY dry lips.  It was so bad while I was pregnant that the skin actually cracked.  Yeah, ouch.

I tried EVERYTHING to heal them. I drank a TON of water (because everyone says that’s a sign of being dehydrated) and, if you’ve ever been pregnant, you know what that did for me!  Not much except for lots of bathroom breaks ((grin)).

I tried buying “natural” lip balm from the drugstore and while it definitely soothed, it did not heal.

Then I read a few blogs on making your own and I was intrigued.  Would it work?  Was it worth it?  Would it be really expensive?

One thing I’ve learned about making my own products is that, while it “looks” expensive up front (ie. buying coconut oil and your essential oils are not cheap), in the long run it is cheaper (you use such a small amount of each that they will last a really long time).

The recipe I liked the best came from the blog: Growing Home.  She has a couple of good recipes on here (for lotion and room spray) besides this lip balm one.  I think one of the reasons I liked it the best is because it has all natural ingredients AND it uses tea tree oil.  I have a love affair with tea tree oil.  Seriously, I use it for everything!  If I run out of it I am totally lost.

I use tea tree oil in my shampoo when I have an itchy scalp.  I use it on cuts to disinfect.  I use it to wash down my counters when the fruit flies get bad.  I’ve even used TT oil as a bug spray.  It’s pretty great stuff!  I use tooth paste with TT oil in it because of a problem that developed in my mouth when I was in highschool…and before I used the tooth paste I actually applied it directly to the sore in my mouth (DO NOT INGEST TEA TREE OIL!).  It is okay to apply topically but do not swallow it!

The only ingredient I didn’t have when I made it the the first time was the Spearmint Essential Oil (hoping to get some soon).  However, because I’m so used to the taste and smell of Tea Tree oil I was totally okay with not including it.

And, I have to say, it is amazing!  I applied it every couple of hours the first day in order to get rid of the really dry skin and by the time I went to bed my lips were soft!  Yup, I was sold.  The scent is not for everyone…but I thin if you added the Spearmint it would mask the Tea Tree oil.

     I don’t think I will ever go back to using store bought lip balm.  I like stuff that actually heals, doesn’t just mask the problem.  Come back next week and I’ll share a lotion recipe with you that you can also use on your lips!

Happiness in a bottle.

 

P.S.  If you’re wondering what I used to put my lip balm in…I found an old chap stick tube and used that.  However, you can also use small containers from the craft aisle at the dollar store.

A Recipe From the Archives–DIY Wednesday

Recently a recipe I had posted almost a year ago has been getting some mega hits on Pinterest.  So I thought I would share it with you all again.  This was off my old blog that I no longer post on.   It is still my all-time, favorite home-made hamburger recipe (even if it is healthy, lol). 

I hope you all enjoy it!

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Weight Watcher’s Best Grilled Hamburgers

Originally posted on August 7, 2012

I have made this recipe twice numerous times now and I think it is my favorite burger recipe (plus I always have the ingredients on hand!).  Tonight I even made it with lean pork instead (ground pork tends to be a little cheaper) and it was still just as yummy!   And the best part is…they’re from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook – can we say, YES PLEASE!   My secret sister gave me this cookbook and I’m really excited about trying some of these recipes.

1lb lean ground meat (pork or beef)

1/2 cup of finely chopped scallions (although I just used a regular onion)

1/4 fat-free egg substitute (again, I used an actual egg, lol)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt (I find these very salty, however, and plan on leaving this out next time)

1/4 tsp black pepper

For purposes of the point value I will add the remaining although these are totally optional

4 whole wheat buns

4 slices sweet onion (such as Vidalia)

4 thick tomato slices

4 lettuce leaves

1/4 cup ketchup

Mix together beef, scallions, egg substitute, W sauce, dry mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until just combined.  With damp hands, shape mixture into 4 (1/2inch-thick) patties (and believe me you won’t get more than that out of it so double the recipe if you want more).  Serve with above ingredients and this comes to a total point value of: 8  =)   293 calories (in case anyone was wondering)…lol.

Scrumpdiddlyishous =)